I am thrilled to announce that this project has been selected as a winner for the highly competitive Spatial Data Call put out by the Geodienst from the University of Groningen. Their expertise in working with geographical data will give this project a significant boost and the support will be used in a pilot project:
Aelius Aristides – spatial narratives of the Asklepieion in Pergamon
Aelius Aristides, was a famous rhetorician and presumed hypochondriac in the second century AD who frequented the healing shrine of Asklepios near Pergamon, writing about his adventures in his Hieroi Logoi (The Sacred Tales). His work uniquely provides insights into the ‘total experience’ of a sanctuary, its rituals and divine encounters, and it includes several spatial references to places concerning the Asklepieion as well. The Hieroi Logoi is an invaluable source for positioning the sanctuary in its physical and social context. A challenge will be to geo-reference literary sources within a larger GIS environment, and so this pilot will also serve that purpose through a selection of relevant passages.
After this pilot, other data sets pertaining to the Asklepieion will be integrated: architecture, inscriptions including multivocal testimonies of healing (dedications of gratitude) and even ‘graffiti’ where possible. The sanctuary is moreover a large repository of honorific and dedicatory inscriptions, some of which once held statues, and texts of cures from a variety of individuals.
Taken together, the Asklepieion provides a remarkable assemblage of sources rich in multi-vocal data across time, which this ‘deep map’ hopes to unlock. Stay tuned!